First thoughts

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First thoughts

Postby MichaelNatkin » Fri Jan 22, 2010 9:29 am

Hey Cuuks -

First let me say how excited I am by this! I'm a software engineer (on Adobe After Effects) by day, and a hardcore cook by night, so this couldn't be more up my alley. When Karen and Andrew Dornenburg came through Seattle on their book tour, I pitched an idea similar to this to them - I wanted them to take the combinations in the Flavor Bible and put them online in a smart way like this.

And I'm impressed, the site is already very useable. As it happens, I came home with some kumquats today and only a vague idea of how I wanted to use them, and I used Cuuks to quickly brainstorm some combinations - one cold avocado soup amuse, and a chocolate dessert. The experience was really fluid and engaging. If you never did another thing to it, I'd already use it regularly.

All that said, here is my feedback so far:

(1) I noticed right away that both kumquat and kumquats are in the dictionary. Similarly with spring onions / green onions / scallions. Some amount of automatic mechanism can help with this sort of thing, but nothing is going to substitute for a human expert. A friend of mine owns and operates CellarTracker.com and he spends a huge amount of time on database quality control, making sure each wine is uniquely identified.

(2) Minor bug: you can add the same ingredient twice to one composition.

(3) It would be great to have quick links out from any ingredient to reference material on the web: wikipedia, tastespotting / foodgawker / et al, blogs, google, google image search, foodista and so on.

(4) As you have more people using it, quality control becomes an even bigger issue, as I assume you are weighting suggested combinations based on how frequently they occur in compositions already in the db. Even if the unwashed masses think pineapple and syrup of ipecac go together, I don't want any. So you might need some type of social voting or user similarity ranking, or some other way to decide whose combinations weight most heavily.

(4.5) Hmm, or I wonder if you could actually mine the web for combinations. That would be cool. Point a spider at websites with trusted recipes and let it determine from textual adjacency what goes together.

(5) Having the combination "meter strength" right justified looks awkward to me. It is just so standard to have the bars or stars or whatever run the other way.

(6) The label "Find Ingredients" to me only immediately suggested typing ingredient names. It took me awhile to realized I could type tags there too. Maybe rethink that label.

(7) It might be good to promote certain kinds of tags so that they were suggested when an ingredient was entered. I.e. to encourage each ingredient so that it was tagged at least with texture, possibly season, vegetarian or not, gluten-free or not, and so forth. That would also encourage those tags not to get a bunch of synonyms. Keep the free-form taggging too though, it is very useful.

(8) The idea I had pitched to the Dornenburgs was along the lines of a mind map as a way to visualize compatible ingredients. The problem with most mindmaps is they are hierarchical. You can pivot a node to the center, but you can't have an arbitrary web of relationships like you need for food. I don't have a precise idea of how it would look, but if you are interested in it, I'd be happy to brainstorm it with you. I'll never get around to doing it myself, I just want to use it!

(9) It would be nice to be able to re-order the ingredients in a composition and maybe attach notes to each of them. So I could see right in the composition what I intended to do with each component instead of only in the overall comp notes.

Phew! Too many ideas. You guys are pros so I'm sure you know people only give you feedback when what you are doing is exciting and worthwhile to them. I think this is awesome.
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Re: First thoughts

Postby Jonas » Sat Jan 23, 2010 6:15 am

Hi Michael,

Thanks a lot for your comments. It’s a privilege to discuss feedback with someone who’s had similar ideas.

Let’s jump right in:

1) We plan to resolve the singular/plural issue as soon as possible. Overall, the multi-language issue continues to be a tough nut. After some initial mishaps, we are improving our database tools again.

2) It happens when you add ingredients quickly, correct? It’s a recorded and assigned issue now. Thank you.

3) It may sound like religion: I believe the use of too many and/or misplaced images would distort the understanding of how flavors interact on a plate. (Let’s see how long I can get away with this..)

4) Suggested compositions are calculated based on frequency. I am surprised by the meaningful output of the reasonably simple algorithm. I am all for long-tail suggestions to avoid the mainstream boredom.
Since I have some fondness for the way early last.fm worked: I like the idea of taste neighbors. Implementing it now would take up a lot of resources, though.

4.5) Sounds feasible. What is a reputable resource? You have to admit: There is something beautiful about “user generated content”. We do look at ways to develop a tool that doesn’t depend on huge quantity content - but we might get back to this…

5.) I keep looking at it and it doesn’t bother me. We write from left to right and anything that opposes that movement, is holding back. Maybe good in this case?

6.) You're right- that label is too limiting. What do you suggest?

7.) We have thought about organizing compositions and ingredients in a way that can help with the mess. Let’s take it from there.

8) I like visualizations. They seem especially meaningful when done with flavors..

http://www.foodpairing.be
http://tashian.com/wine-flavors/
http://www.visualthesaurus.com/
http://www.liveplasma.com/

One of the ideas Luca Turin mentioned in “The Science of Scent”, was to feed fragrance descriptors into a Self-Organizing Map (Kohonen map). I would love to see that. From what I understand, it could visualize the relative connectedness of ingredients based on their tags. I encourage anyone who wants to go on with this. (Tell us what you need!)

Here’s the science:
http://dynamicnotions.blogspot.com/2008 ... p-som.html
http://www.cis.hut.fi/projects/somtoolb ... ithm.shtml

9. Reordering ingredients: Makes a lot of sense. I was wondering if it was only me.
Notes for ingredients: Do you think quick tagging would be good enough?

Thanks a lot for the encouragement -we are happy to have you on board!

Best,

Jonas
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Re: First thoughts

Postby stefan » Sat Jan 23, 2010 1:02 pm

Thanks for the detailed feedback!

Nice to hear that cuuks is useful and usable already. Some of your points regarding data and matching-algorithm quality will probably become very important once cuuks is open and more people start using it, I guess we have to tweak it as we go and just find out what feels right.

At the moment we're still focused on getting the basic interface right. Making use of tags for the combination process is a tough one, for example. Any reports on how that works for you are very welcome :-)

Stefan
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Re: First thoughts

Postby MichaelNatkin » Tue Jan 26, 2010 8:42 am

Hey Stefan and Jonas -

Thanks for the replies! I love some of those visualizations you linked to. I think Visual Thesaurus comes closest to what I've imagined for food, though I don't quite know how to generalize it once you already have more than one ingredient in a composition. Still, the idea of navigating through that space is enticing. I can almost see this future vision of composing flavors that way, and then layering on the techniques and textures for each group of ingredients. What an aid that would be.

3D rendering of the final plated result is left as an excercise for the reader. You get to specify which famous chef's plating style to emulate :).

Kidding aside, I'd love to see a way to take a composition, reorder the ingredients, and then annotate them so I could see something like:

dark chocolate + water + agar -> hydrate and mold into flexible sheet
kumquat + sugar -> slice thin, confit
butterscotch + tapioca maltodextrin -> process into powder

So then in some sense, the larger composition becomes "flexible chocolate + kumquat confit + butterscotch powder".

Re: (6), for "Find Ingredients:" how about "Find ingredients by name or tag:"... a little long, but at least it gets the point across.
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Re: First thoughts

Postby Guido » Sun Jun 27, 2010 2:55 pm

You would need a huge bank of both ingredients and combinations to make the Visual Thesaurus usable. The Thesaurus has several hundred thousand terms already predetermined and digitised to work with. Putting all this into a database is going to quire a lot of time and elbow (fingertip?) grease. However, it is possible.

I think it could be done in two ways: using foods that are similar (in taste, texture or usage, e.g. potato and sweet potato) and using foods that can be combined well. A colour-coding could work well (e.g. green for similar foods, orange for combinations, maybe even red for don't go there (strawberry and sardines, à la Gaston ;) ) etc.
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Re: First thoughts

Postby Jonas » Wed Aug 11, 2010 2:15 pm

@ MichaelNatkin

I looked through your suggestions again and added some of them to http://www.cuuks.uservoice.com

"Quick links out from any ingredient to reference material on the web"
-> included in “ingredient pages”. vote for it on
http://cuuks.uservoice.com/forums/48577 ... ient-pages

"Some type of social voting or user similarity ranking"
->let’s see what the “Like” button does. Feel free to add similar ideas to
http://www.cuuks.uservoice.com

"The label "Find Ingredients" to me only immediately suggested typing ingredient names. It took me awhile to realized I could type tags there too. Maybe rethink that label."
-> still room for improvement there. suggestions welcome

"promote certain kinds of tags. tagged at least with texture, possibly season, vegetarian or not, gluten-free or not, and so forth."
-> what do you think? added it to uservoice for you to vote on it.
http://cuuks.uservoice.com/forums/48577 ... nd-of-tags

"a mind map as a way to visualize compatible ingredients"
-> still looking forward to that. for us it's "interface first" but we like to talk to anyone with good ideas.

"re-order the ingredients in a composition"
-> added to uservoice.com with three votes of my own!
http://cuuks.uservoice.com/forums/48577 ... omposition

Thank you.
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Re: First thoughts

Postby Jonas » Wed Aug 11, 2010 2:26 pm

@guido

maybe even red for don't go there (strawberry and sardines, à la Gaston ;)


what is wrong with strawberries and sardines, g? ;)

I opened a new forum/thread to post the most awkward suggestions cuuks comes up with:
viewtopic.php?f=5&t=208&start=0
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Re: First thoughts

Postby madooeiei » Sun Dec 20, 2015 11:17 am

However, it is possible.
สล็อตออนไลน์
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